The Green Party says the Government needs to extend the one-off residency scheme to all workers, instead of keeping them in limbo with visa extensions every 6 months.
“Many working holiday and supplementary seasonal visa holders have been supporting key industries during this time of global uncertainty, such as horticulture and hospitality,” says Green spokesperson for Immigration Ricardo Menéndez March.
“These workers are often in precarious and low-paid work; the right thing to do would be to include them in the one-off residency visa.
“Migrant workers have had to endure the pandemic with little income support from the Government, leaving them far more at risk to exploitation. Including them in the one-off residency scheme would give them much more certainty about their future, allow them to put down roots and make a home here in Aotearoa.
“Migrant communities who have been arbitrarily excluded from the one-off residency have been writing to us in distress over the uncertain future they face.
“If the Government’s intent is to give certainty to people that are here, and also to resolve some short term issues around exploitation and backlogs, we must get the criteria right and include all migrant workers, and those excluded because of disabilities.
“In the open letter that we launched in April 2021, we asked Minister Faafoi to ensure there are clear and achievable pathways for all migrants to gain residency, including transparent and honest communication with temporary visa holders to enable their transition to permanent residence.
“By providing a pathway to residency we will support ending migrant worker exploitation, better working conditions for all workers and the genuine certainty our community needs.”